22 Aug Sleep with me: 10 tips to get a great night’s sleep
If one of your goals is better sleep, we’re right there with you.
And, for what seems to be a constantly moving target with multiple reports on the impacts of technology, diet, exercise and the 24 hour news cycle on your ability to rest and recover, we thought we add a few things that get us up to get down (to sleep).
On the tech front, there’s no denying that tiny screens can have a big effect on your sleep.
It may seem harmless enough to tap out a few quick emails before bed or spend thirty minutes reading on your iPad, but by keeping your mind engaged, you’re tricking your brain into thinking that it needs to stay alert which can make falling asleep even harder.
There is also evidence that the blue light emitted by cell phones, tablets, e-readers and televisions suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle (or circadian rhythm).
While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light at night does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).
Here are a few things you can do to reduce your exposure to blue light:
Night Shift. Night Shift uses the clock and geolocation of your iOS device to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colors of your display to warmer colors. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings. Here’s how to enable Night Shift.
F.lux. F.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again. Get f.lux here.
Do Not Disturb. Just countering the blue light from devices is only half the battle – if you’re scrolling Instagram or getting notifications all night, changing the lighting on your screen won’t fix that, but you can enable airplane mode to keep wifi signals away from your head while you sleep, use the Do Not Disturb function to silence notifications until you wake up, or turn your phone off altogether!
Tech isn’t the only thing disrupting your sleep.
There’s no denying the research that shows how powerful a little reorientation & nutrition can be in boosting zenful, sleeptastic energy while decreasing anxiety that comes with the “monkey mind” and nutritional imbalances that leads to that tossing and turning at night.
Here are a few sleeptastic ways get your mind on track:
Podcasts: Sleep With Me. Even though phones aren’t the best for sleep, there are certainly some sleep happy apps out there. One of our favorites is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. (We rarely make it past the intro before we’re lights out!) Just remember to download your podcasts and then turn on airplane mode to avoid streaming data while you sleep.
App: Headspace. If you’ve wanted to start meditating, but don’t want to fork out $1000 for a training or can’t seem to get away for a 10 day retreat (seriously, get your life together!), the Headspace app is a great way to start.
Really: Yoga & Breath. Experienced meditators practicing either TM-Sidhi or another internationally well known form of yoga showed significantly higher plasma melatonin levels in the period immediately following meditation compared with the same period at the same time on a control night. In addition to its role in sleep, melatonin acts as an antioxidant and immunomodulator, oncostatic, anti-aging agent, and helps in bringing sense of wellbeing. All good things!
Nom Nom. Here are some easy nutritional changes you can make, too.
Raw honey. Taking a small amount by itself before bed can raise blood glucose levels while you sleep, putting you in a deeper sleep faster.
Magnesium. Magnesium, according to Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, can help relax our muscles and reduce anxiety at bedtime. That’s because magnesium actually binds to a special neurotransmitter in our bodies called GABA, which is also a receptor for sleeping aids like Ambien. “When we supplement with magnesium, it also binds with that receptor and has anti-anxiety effects,” said Dr. Dasgupta.
CBD. Research suggests that CBD inhibits the breakdown of anandamide – also call the Bliss Molecule – a neurotransmitter that affects the immune system, eating and sleeping patterns, and pain relief. By inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down anandamide in the body, there is more available, which could help ease anxiety and nervous thought patterns, to help you get a better night’s sleep.
One last thing…
There are plenty of tangible things you can do to sleep better – from limiting exposure to blue light, to diet and exercise, but often the intangible things make the biggest difference.
We discovered the Five Minute Journal, and love its convenient design for keeping track of goals and recognizing the joy in everyday life. With a simple structured format based on positive psychology research, you will start and end each day with gratitude.
Side effects may include:
Increased happiness, better relationships, and becoming more optimistic.
You’ve been warned.
Begin the day right
When you start the day on the right note, things automatically start to fall in place. Every day.
Gratitude is the opposite of depression and anxiety. It’s the conscious experience of appreciation of the gifts in our lives and the results are tangible.
Reflection is powerful
Ending the day on the right note can be essential to a good night’s sleep, eliminating negative thought loops and learning more about yourself.
Please feel free to share your favorite sleep tips in the comments!
And, sweet dreams…